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Expert Unexpert Advice

Things looking good for Obama in Virginia

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The smart move?

I hate to say it, but for all of his faults, I don’t know who beats him (emphasis mine).

Obama leads Mitt Romney (48-43) and Mike Huckabee (49-44) each by 5 points in hypothetical contests, a margin similar to his victory over John McCain in the state. If the Republican nominee was either Newt Gingrich or Sarah Palin Obama’s lead widens to 11 points, by spreads of 52-41 and 51-40 respectively.

Obama has pretty good approval numbers in the state with 50% of voters giving him good marks to 45% who disapprove. His numbers certainly compare well to the favorability numbers of the top GOP contenders. Only Huckabee, at 40/40, can even break even on that front. The rest of the crowd has pretty negative numbers with Mitt Romney at -13 (33/46), Newt Gingrich at -21 (32/53), and Sarah Palin at -23 (35/58).

Granted the campaign hasn’t even started yet, but still, yeesh. I should say off the bat I don’t think Mike Huckabee will ever be President, and I think he’ll be ripped to shreds if he ever has to go up against serious Democrat talent.  None of those people have low name ID, it’s hard to say that these negatives come from unfamiliarity.  If Republicans come into this election with Virginia off the table, that map starts looking very hostile very quickly.

More and more I keep thinking that none of the known quantities can win.  Southerners will never trust Mitt, with Huckabee it will be the all “we need to quarantine AIDS patients” show all of the time.  He’d be lucky to break 40%.  And as much as I hate to say it, the public as a whole seems to have made up their minds about Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich.  Even with no economic recovery the Obama machine wins in a walk.

If Republicans are going to take down Obama they have to take a chance on someone who’s not out of the 2008 or 1994-2008 cycle.  And I know it’s always a long shot with congressmen, but still…what about Paul Ryan?  I don’t think he wants to run, but he’d destroy Obama in the debates.  He’s from an important swing state in Wisconsin that could help him play in other swing states like Indiana, Ohio, Iowa, Minnesota and Missouri.  It would force entitlement reform to the front and center of the debate, and the reality is the politics of entitlement reform aren’t as scary as they’ve been in the past.  Sure the same old “Cuts to social security” “old people might have to work” attacks will be there and have some pull, but the numbers are so absurd ($106 trillion, twice all of the money in the entire world, would need to be invested and bearing 6% interest for entitlements to be solvent as they are now) that if Obama doesn’t take the high road and take Paul Ryan on in actual high minded debate about entitlements (which Ryan wins), Ryan’s campaign rips Obama to shreds on supporting the political cowardice tax of continuing to let the unfunded liabilities grow and supports the huge cuts to benefits that come from inaction.

Think of the ads!  A really ominous storm rolls in while Obama keeps hitting the snooze button.  News bulletins from the day social security goes broke.  Senior citizens talking about how scared they are of outliving their social security benefits.

And it would take away Obama’s favorite move of responding to talking points with wonkish details making him seem more substantive.  It would put Obama squarely in the base populism role of having to get the seniors terrified that Paul Ryan’s going to take away their social security, undermining his ability to jazz up the college kids about how important it is that we let social security go bankrupt.

It still wouldn’t be easy.  Paul Ryan hasn’t ever led a statewide campaign, let alone a national one.  He’s even younger than Obama, which isn’t going to help him when he’s trying to convince seniors that he’s trying to save, not cut, social security.  The media is going to be extremely hostile and they will trot out an endless slew of academics talking about how much would be cut from government contributions to social security.  Celebrities will take endless petty shots at him which will unfortunately get a lot of penetration with the college kids.

But still, better than a dutiful shelacking of Romney, wouldn’t you say?

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Written by updowndownup

November 16, 2010 at 7:15 pm

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